What Happens to Your Pet After You Pass
From a legal standpoint, what happens to your pet after you pass depends on your living arrangements. If you share your home with your family, your pet’s ownership will automatically pass on to your family members after you pass. If, however, you live alone, you must take additional steps to ensure your pet’s future through legal arrangements.
Adding a pet clause to your will or leaving written instructions will clarify your wishes regarding your pet’s care and appoint a responsible guardian.
Note, however, that the appointed guardian is under no legal obligation to take care of your pet. So, choose that person carefully. Go with someone you trust unconditionally, and you should have peace of mind when the time comes for your pet to be left behind.
Suppose you pass without making legal, written, or verbal arrangements regarding your pet. In that case, it’s up to your will’s executor(s) to decide what will happen to your animal friend.
Who to Leave Your Pet to After You Pass
You probably don’t want to leave your pet’s fate to chance after you pass. Decide who you’d like to care for your pet immediately, and you’ll have enough time to make all the necessary arrangements.
Here are some options to consider.
A Family Member
Many people will rely on their family for help and comfort when something goes wrong. So, it isn’t surprising a family member is often the No. 1 choice for your pet’s future guardian. Living with that family member is even better, as they will be already familiar with your pet’s personality and needs.
If you’re alone or don’t trust your family members, consider leaving your pet to one of your friends. After all, friends are often called our chosen family for a good reason. If a friend often joins you while walking your pet or has a pet of their own, they will be the perfect choice for your pet’s future guardian.
A New Home
Taking care of a pet is undoubtedly a huge responsibility. Even if you have people in your life who you can trust completely, not everyone has the time, money, or space to care for an animal properly. If this is the case, consider finding your pet a new home where it will receive all the attention and care it deserves.
An Animal Charity
If you don’t have the strength or time to look for a new home, entrust an animal charity with your pet. Depending on the charity and your agreement, it’ll either rehome the pet or care for it for the rest of its life. Some charities to consider are as follows:
- Peace of Mind Program (The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine)
- Perpetual Pet Care Program (The Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine)
- Cohn Pet Care Facility (The Oklahoma State University Veterinary Medical Hospital)
- The Stevenson Companion Animal Life-Care Center (The Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine)
How to Ensure Your Pet Will Be Taken Care of After You Pass
Since your furry companion’s future isn’t legally protected, you should do all in your power to ensure your beloved friend will have a happy life after you pass. Here are some things you can do.
Talk to the Future Guardian
Before making any final decisions, talk to your chosen guardian to ensure they fully understand what they’re getting into. If you sense any doubts on their part, you might want to reconsider.
Arrange a Backup Alternative
Life is unpredictable. You never know what can happen to your chosen guardian, so make sure to arrange a backup option if anything goes wrong.
Leave Written Instructions
Having your wishes in writing significantly increases the chances of them coming true. Compose a letter detailing your wishes for your pet and leave it to a trusted person. Remember to write down your pet’s likes, dislikes, favorite toys, and treats to ensure their new life is as happy as the one next to you.
Establish Pet Trust
Legally, you can’t leave money to your pet. Why? Because a pet is seen as property in the eyes of the law, and you can’t leave property to property. You can, however, establish a pet trust, leaving money for your pet’s new caretaker to use according to your instructions.
Though Hollywood Forever cannot sell burial spaces for pets, our Rights and Privileges to allow you to designate that your pets cremated remains be buried with you in your space, crypt, or niche – so you can indeed be together forever.
After securing your pet’s future, you can breathe easier, confident that they will be in good hands. Reach out to Hollywood Forever to plan a memorial service that truly honors the special bond you’ve shared with your cherished animal companion.